Monday, February 18, 2013
Gordon's impact as leadoff man
By Jason Catania
Alex Gordon has proven to be so good as a leadoff hitter, that's the job the Kansas City Royals will have him fill again in 2013.
Manager Ned Yost told the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton that Gordon will return to leading off after splitting time between hitting first and third for much of 2012.
Gordon, 29, has spent plenty of time at leadoff in his career, and in fact, saw most of his action from that spot last year. He also hit in the third spot in the lineup in 2012, in part because Eric Hosmer's poor performance made it tough to keep him in that position all season long.
Gordon's OBP out of the top spot last season was a robust .379, and his career slash stats there are .306/.381/.501, so this is a smart move by a team that needs to get more out of its lineup.
Gordon, Dutton points out, will be followed by shortstop Alcides Escobar batting second and first baseman Eric Hosmer in the three-hole. Billy Butler, the DH coming off a career campaign, will hit cleanup and catcher Salvador Perez and third baseman Mike Moustakas will round out the heart of the Royals order.
In 2012, Kansas City's offense, comprised mostly of young players, was middle-of-the-pack overall, ranking 20th in runs scored (676), 15th and OPS (.716) and seventh in average (.265). With improvements from Hosmer, who suffered through a terrible sophomore slump, and Moustakas, whose production tailed off in the second half, not to mention a full season of health from Perez, it's conceivable that the Royals could make a jump on offense. Getting a good year from Gordon at the top of the lineup will be key.